Posted in forgiveness, friends, memoir, self improvement, stream of consciousness writing, writers, Writing for healing

What People Say: Dealing with Word Wounds and How to Heal


Oh the things people say: “You’re good with the customers but you’re not management material.”

Why do some people react to hurtful comments while others seem to have a thicker skin? The only reason for approaching the topic in writing is that I used to be one of those sensitive types. I learned through needless suffering to deflect the jabs by setting boundaries and kicking out the insult-bearing squatters from my head. Writing a memoir or life story does bring up some of those nasty memories.

The opening scene in the rough draft of my memoir is a one-line zinger that somebody slapped on me at a family function. I got zapped. Verbally tasered. I fired back with what I thought was a classy response. The offender and I never talked about it.

Put-downs, maligning and one-upping happens to everybody. What years of being a parent, grandparent, wife, sister, and friend has taught me is that others have similar experiences. Everyone is sensitive in varying degrees, and that being a “sensitive” is actually a skill. When I earned my degree in psychology and participated in years of workshops, what I learned is that if I don’t get a handle on reacting to people who bully, I risk becoming bitter and resentful.

Writing is a good way to deal with the hurts and move on from the jabs and insults.

While I wrote jokingly in one of my blogs about men being Neanderthals, it is women, it seems, who have a special talent for murderous competition designed to make another woman want to quit. For those of you who have been the recipient of digs and jabs, please take heart and learn to fight back or move on. You’re worth it. I know, because I’ve been there. Sometimes we’re the ones who do the zapping. Everybody I know, male, female, gay, trans…whomever…has stories about the war of words.

Here are a few one-liners I’ve experienced in my life. Some are light-hearted. Some were turning points/wounds that required spiritual counseling and even regular counseling so I could heal. They might not make sense or seem that intense, but as each writer knows, words shape our stories.


What happened to you? Did you get sunburned through a screen?

“There’s a man down in those trees. He’s going to come and get you.”

Don’t worry, they’ll grow.

What are you doing here, jackass?

Why don’t you want to play doctor with me? Don’t be scared.


Who made the coffee this morning? It’s too weak.

Who made these rubber band eggs?

Who scheduled this appointment?

What about your age?

Is this the new help? (that would be me)

 Relationships/Life situations

 You’re really filling up those pants.

You act like you’re single.

You don’t care about me.

You don’t love me.

When did YOU ever grow up?

You have private property hang-ups.

You think you’re so smart. That job just landed in your lap.

You have a repressed mouth.

Why don’t you go back to Europe where you came from?

You don’t understand simple things. You have ownership issues.

Don’t do this because you’re humiliated.

We’re going to teach you a lesson.

Well I hope you learned your lesson.

You’re a two-faced elitist.

You need help.

That’s why Susan is so screwed up.

You can’t even put a lid on a jar right. What’s wrong with you?

 (Thank you Jesus, I never broke anyone’s face. I would come home from working all day and have to make dinner while my kid’s father had been home. Then he would get on my case after I’d make a cup of tea for myself to get through the meal-making).

I’ve had guests come to my house, eat the meals I prepared for them, enjoy the bedroom I fixed up for them only to have someone say, “You make me tired. Can’t you just relax?”


Yes of course there are more one-liners to add to the repertoire. But I’ve done my ceremonies. Writers  & journal keepers can use the words/scenarios to add to novels, memoirs, and interweave them into their characters’ lives. Don’t forget the positives!



Journal prompt: Do you remember things that people have said to you that hurt? Do comments people have made stay with you for life? Write them down. Later go back and write a brief explanations after each comment. This is for you only for right now.

If you decide you want to elaborate, go back and write the emotion or feelings that you experienced after the words were spoken.

Discussion: Experts have found that the act of writing affirmations and positive summaries has a powerful affect on our health. Do the exercise again and use nice things that people have said to you. Notice if there is a difference in the way you feel. Compliment yourself in your journal often.

Also, one way to deal with hurtful words is to take the list and have a releasing ceremony. Put the written words in a fire and burn them. Say “I now release all this hurt forever.” Another way is to make a paper boat and write some of the terms or words that have wounded you and put it in a moving body of water. (please be eco-conscious).

Put your list through a shredder.

You can do a freezing ceremony to get rid of your words-spoken list. Put the list of wounds in a bag and freeze it. Later on when you are ready, in a couple hours, days, months, dump your list in the garbage or compost pile if you have a garden. Another way is to paint on biodegradable materials and bury the issues in the earth. Or make art. Do a collage or sand tray exercise and work with those hurts. But at the end, it’s imperative to be positive. Make up your own ways to put the issues out of your psyche and your world.

Happy writing, everybody. Cheers!

cherub with my name



Posted in cystic fibrosis, NODAPL, psychology, self improvement, social commentary

Happy New Year No Fear

Once again I must apologize to my poor neglected bloggie. It’s been two months since I last posted. Sounds like a 12 Step meeting, doesn’t it?  My name is Sue and I am an artist-writer-psychic intuitive-blogger and all around passive-aggressive rabble-rouser who enjoys retreating. 🙂

No need to recap the ridiculous drama of recent elections in the US. I’m so sorry that we have to deal with more corruption and slanderous whackadoodle energy out there. It’s totally forked up but as a spiritual type writer, my focus is on continuing to TRY and walk the talk and conquer my challenges. “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” – Susan Jeffers


So dear kindred spirits and fellow bloggers, it’s onward into the new year with no fear.  I’m here to support YOU on your creative journey. As my gift to you I’m sharing some family pics and original photographs of some of my recent favorite memories. Am missing a few family members who were unable to travel because of work schedules, but here goes:


Christmas 2016 with some of the family-we’re totally rainbow people. We come in all colors of the heart.


Concert Five Blind Boys of Alabama with octogenarian powerhouse, Jimmy Carter


Our granddaughter’s annual holiday big canvas painting

As you know I’m into causes. Please join me in contributing your no fear energy into a cause in 2017. I support and stand with #NODAPL  as they refuse to wilt in the face of the greed monsters who simply do not consider the devastating consequences of oil spills and water contamination. ACTION relieves anxiety.


                                                     Original art * Nature Heals* acrylic

As always, we’re supporting and praying for a cure for cystic fibrosis, because our granddaughter is fighting it. I love this photo of her playing the clarinet. GO CF’ers!  Stay strong!



Playing an instrument helps children learn teamwork, discover talent, develop social skills, increase confidence, and increase eye-hand coordination.  Express yourself!


Exploring Sedona

Much love and appreciation to you all-back to working on the memoir.

                                the work shed window

                                                   Old California

Journal prompt: write about fear. What helps you face your fears? See yourself as a spiritual guide, relative, or teacher who takes you by the hand and walks with you as you challenge yourself. What would your guide say to you? Don’t hold back. Use images to add to your journal entry. What feelings come over you as you write about fear? Where does fear live within your body? If fear (and money) were no option, what would you DO?

Posted in self improvement, Writing for healing

Rejection, Breaking Dishes, and Rewrites


You’ve heard the quotes about how many times Babe Ruth struck out during his career. You’ve been reminded about the number of rejections J.K. Rowling received before she hit it big.  Do these reminders help when another rejection comes in?

Hell no.

What goes around does not necessarily come back around. Your dreams can die in the water if you get discouraged. Please don’t give up.

Time to toughen up, yo.

But what to do in the meantime?

Every writer knows how easy it is to get sick of your manuscript. The thrill of what you thought was so profound is being rejected by better writers, or famous peoples’  sex scandals and famous peoples’ romance. Again.

Have ever wondered how much time you’ve wasted looking at other people living their lives? Seriously.

Or, you just plain got rejected.

You have several options when rejections fill your inbox-tongue in cheek-not literally.

  •  Break dishes
  •  Learn how to play golf
  • Put on your old Allman Brothers or Buddy Guy tunes and crank it up full blast
  • Run away &  put a week at a luxury hotel on your credit card-suffer later
  • Do yoga for pissed off people
  • Yell at the dog
  • Knit, break the knitting needles and ball up the yarn, donate said yarn to the Goodwill
  • Doodle
  • Rewrite


I favor breaking dishes, running away, and doodling. Doodling usually wins. You can find budget hotels to replace the overly expensive bed and breakfast inns, but the cold hard truth is no matter what your coping mechanisms are,  you have to  do the rewrites.  When you sink your head into the pillow, be it luxury lavender or at home on budget, the naked truth is staring at you from the ceiling.

You have to revise. And unless you have a contract,  nobody cares. You still have to do it.


Do the rewrite.

Again. Hog the bandwith. Be stingy with your time.

For anyone struggling with the sting of “so sorry, but we’ve had hundreds of submissions this year,” I have no advice except that you’re not alone.  As old Aunt Mathilda used to say, “just stay with it. Don’t give up, honey.” At the risk of sounding bitter and pathetic, I won’t bore you with how much I’ve spent on writing classes that haven’t gotten me any closer to finishing my manuscript. But my wasted funds might make you feel better about yourself.

Ladies, I’ve found that people in support groups don’t always pan out the way you wanted. If you think that all the law of attraction stuff and spiritual types are the best way to find kindred friends, you might want to think about joining a bowling group instead. You’ll find better camaraderie. Plus you get to smash things and make noise.

 Or if you are really into spirituality, as I am, you haven’t met your people yet. Keep the faith.

Big shots and famous people have staff writers who troll the internet to get ideas…from you! Really. I once wrote a blog post and within weeks, I saw my exact words on a high-profile spiritual hot shot’s ad. Maybe it was my imagination-I have no idea. But at least I got some form of a delusional ego-boost out of it.


 Writers, artists, musicians, poets, and even street bums are all about competition. “Players really only love you when they’re playing.” Shrinks debate each other over theories at workshops. Victims compare wounds in therapy groups. Psychotherapist Irving Yalom shared that one of his most vicious groups of clients were abuse survivors who battled each other over the severity of their stories. I wonder if monks in monasteries compete over how long they can meditate in silence? Does anyone know?

I’m over 60, the age when you’ve already become rather invisible unless you’ve got some kind of “it” factor.  And you’re expected not to make waves, or the threat of being labeled bitter is at your heels. Aunt Mathilda told you that you’d get more out of being sweet than the vinegar-spiced sarcastic reply. She was right, but she was wrong. Betty White and Carole Burnett can tell you all about how to age gracefully and be funny. There is  a certain freedom that comes with age.  There is less time to waste and more pack to the punch.

And to the most awesome people out there-all you young writers and artists, stay with it.

Do the rewrite.

And always have spare dishes around…




Journal prompt: write about rejection. What are your responses? Don’t be polite. What do you find helps you get back on track with your projects? After you have written about rejection, write about a success. It can be from childhood. What is your favorite antidote for rejection? At the end of your journal entry, write: YOU ARE ACCEPTED. This is important.

Always add something positive for yourself. Write a congratulations note to yourself.


Posted in interviews, journal prompts, journaling, Jung, personal transformation, self improvement, spirituality, Writing for healing

Journaling Tarot, an Interview with Mary K. Greer


Mary K. Greer2016-Mary Greer


This week I’m excited to introduce you to Tarot expert, Mary K. Greer. She’s the author of eleven books and has been a tarot teacher for years. I use her Tarot for Your Self, a Workbook for Personal Transformation regularly. I recommend that all memoir or journal writers take a serious look at tarot as a tool for self-discovery through symbolism and metaphor.

greer books

Some keywords defining the tarot journey are

  • perspective
  • imagination
  • spirituality
  • discernment
  • symbolism
  • process
  • theme
  • Jungian psychology
  • personal transformation

My personal story with oracle cards began around 1986 when I bought my first deck. I started with a non-traditional oracle deck, The Medicine Cards. Then I purchased the classic Rider Waite Tarot, and the Crowley deck intrigued by  the illustrator Pamela Colman Smith. The Jamaican-American woman artist who created the original tarot images so well-known today, supposedly was not mentioned for her work when the deck was published. Unfortunately, they say she died in poverty and obscurity, but her work is beloved by many through the ages.

the hermit sue rowland copy

      my collage  tarot card – the Hermit

Tarot is about the human saga. For brevity’s sake you can look up Tarot here. It’s uncanny how spot-on the card pulls can be as a fun tool for writing.

Aside from the twenty-two Major Arcana or Trump cards there are four suits with general associations making up the lesser arcana. When you read the cards you look at the relationships generated by the images and their meaning.

  • Cups represent emotions and water
  • Wands represent action and fire
  • Swords represent thinking and air
  • Pentacles represent materials (coins) and earth


  • What I want to explore for journal-keepers and seekers in this segment is the excavation of symbols and metaphors that help you, as a writer, discover your own personal story.

Please join me in talking with Mary K. Greer below:

SR: What got you started in the tarot path?

MKG: I was in college in Tampa Florida in the late ’60s and my best friend got Eden Gray’s Tarot Revealed for Christmas but no cards. I was fascinated and asked everyone if they knew where I could find Tarot cards. Someone told me about a “metaphysical” bookstore on the other side of Tampa. I borrowed a car and went on my first magical “quest” to find a deck. I discovered not only the cards but the whole world of the occult and metaphysical at that bookstore. Within a year I decided I would teach Tarot in college and that someday I would write a book on the subject. I had found what I never knew I was looking for. What really drew me to the Tarot was my interest, as an English/Theatre Arts major, in “archetypal criticism” involving a Jungian approach to symbolism and Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, all things I was just learning about then. I soon discovered that the stories I would spontaneously tell about the cards were easy-to-interpret metaphors for what was happening in someone’s life. To me it seemed as natural as breathing, although it could be disconcerting when potential boy friends nervously complained that I knew too much about them after they asked me to read their cards!

SR: How did you decide to write about tarot?

MKG: I had been teaching Tarot in colleges for several years and started doing large lectures and wrote an article. About this time I started going out with a travel writer. We went off to live in Mexico for a year and he encouraged me to write a book. I started it there and continued it when I returned to my teaching job in San Francisco. My college had a degree-completion program for returning adults. We required students to keep a journal recording their work and life experiences. I taught the journal writing workshops and also directed the school’s “learning skills” program for which I had found a workbook that was highly effective. So my first book addressed the then-taboo that one should never read tarot for him or herself. (I love to break taboos!) I used journal techniques and the workbook format to help people overcome the so-called “problems” with reading for oneself and use Tarot for personal insight and creativity.


SR: How would you advise new students to examine their lives by using tarot?

MKG: There are so many ways I can’t even begin to describe them all. Definitely keep a journal in which you write card meanings, your own readings and what is happening at that time, plus make up spreads, gather info on related myths and symbols, and so on. Do a reading at the beginning or major turning points of everything in your life. Note the patterns that appear: certain cards for certain people, when a card keeps coming up and what it finally means for you. You can go back to these readings later and write what actually happened—revisiting them again and again as you gain more insight. Write about the cards particular to you based on your birthdate numerology, astrology and so on. Dialog with these cards as if you were characters in a play, figures in an “active imagination,” asking advice or answering questions posed to you by the Tarot “archetypes.” Explore the many spreads and other processes that are found both in my books and in so many other books today. Try a variety of decks. Each will require that you look at your life from a different, perhaps totally new and fresh perspective. Create Tarot art. By the way, your “journal” can be a public or private blog, a computer file, a ring-binder, an artist’s notebook—whatever works. Start with what interests you most and go from there; you have your whole life with Tarot as your companion and your relationship with it will develop over time.

Last bit of advice: When in doubt, simply describe the card! It’s amazing where you will naturally go from there.


Thank you so much, Mary! What a treat to talk with you.  Readers, you can find Mary in the links below.

Bio: Mary K. Greer is an independent scholar, writer, teacher and professional Tarot and Lenormand consultant. She has an M.A. in English from the University of Central Florida where she first taught Tarot in 1974. With more than ten books and nearly 50 years experience in Tarot, Mary pioneered many of the Tarot reading methods used today, including reading Tarot for yourself and methods that are interactive, transformational and empowering. She leads intensive workshops every year at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY and travels internationally teaching Tarot. Visit Mary’s blog and on-line courses. Check out the “Tarot Magic Tour in Merlin’s Britain” that will take place in June 2017.



Journaling prompt: find yourself a tarot deck and try a reading. How do you like working with Tarot? What Tarot card do you resonate with?  Write about your experiences.

Discussion: A note to people who are afraid of divination or who might fear Tarot study, or are concerned that oracle decks are dangerous. (They’re not). Briefly, people are often afraid of the “occult” and imagine robed devil worshippers dancing around a fire encouraging making human sacrifices. Not true. I’ve never met any such characters.

With any study group one has to follow one’s intuition and if something or someone makes you uncomfortable, then don’t pursue it. There are times when I use “lighter” oracle decks such as Fairy Tarot or Guardian Angel Tarot.

Yes, there are cards that represent the archetypes of “the devil” and “death” etc, but these cards about symbolism rather than a literal event. Breaking the chains of addictions or illicit behavior (devil card) or the need to  change behavior or look at things from a new perspective (death card) are only indications of elements in life. Find a good teacher. Do research.

Each person who chooses to work with oracle cards or the tarot can choose a deck that isn’t frightening. There are all kinds of decks available that do not use these classic “negative” images. I will devote another blog entry to this topic.

Copyright © 2016 by Susan E Rowland

Posted in journal prompts, memoir, relationships, self improvement, writers, Writing for healing

What I Read in 2015, Four at a Time in Random Order


Jimmy Carter

If I want to stay in this blogging game I guess I’d better share what I read in 2015. I find that reading helps me write my manuscript. The way another author writes about an experience stays with me and inspires me to stay with it.

 This is a series of awesome reads I’d love for others to enjoy. I’m not giving it to you all at once-just four at a time. I mostly read non-fiction. Once in a while, I’ll pick up a fiction book that grabs me. Call me too serious, that’s just the way I am.

Also, I don’t rate books with stars on my blog. If I review a book, I liked it!

  • North of Normal, A Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family and How I Survived Both, by Cea Sunrise Person, 2014.

The author’s name alone should tell you a little about her parents. An offbeat family living in the California suburbs chucks it all to forage in the Canadian wilderness. Eccentric, opinionated adults bored by modern society haul their child along with their dreams about independence and freedom. Living in tipis, living off the land, and on the lam from the law and social services is just one aspect of her nutty childhood and coming of age experiences. Through sheer determination, Cecelia becomes a fashion model and works her way into adulthood. What some kids have to go through is just plain mind-boggling.

Loved it. I worried about her and cheered for her.

  • A Different Kind of Same, A Memoir, by Kelley Clink, 2015.

Clink is devastated by her brother Matt’s depression and suicide. She is determined to comb through his writings while working through her own issues as a sibling left to grieve. While sifting and sorting through her brother’s belongings, she bravely attempts to find answers about why he suffered so badly. From Michigan to Alabama, and with a look at a life in New Jersey, Clink offers insight into her feelings of loss and betrayal, as well as an honest focus on emotional/mental health, and family ritual in American life.

Raw and honest. I admired her tenacity. Her testimony is so important.

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, 2009.

You must have heard about him. This is a true account of a boy from Malawi who grows up to become an acclaimed achiever. He creates electrical power for his people by inventing a windmill. He sees a need and discovers a way to find a solution. From a culture of magic and folklore, he advances into a world of science and accomplishment. Poetic, visual, and personal, Kamkwamba with the help of Mealer, brings the reader into a place of hope for improving people’s lives in underdeveloped countries. You can hear him on TedTalks.

Absolutely loved the book. Read all night. Do yourself a favor and learn something. Then, go out and help others.

  • You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know, a True Story of Family Face Blindness, and Forgiveness, Heather Sellers, 2010.

Wow. So you’ve heard that actor Brad Pitt may suffer from prosopagnosia, a little-known neurological disorder. Sufferers are unable to recognize faces. Can you imagine? You have to memorize speech patterns and movements. Every single time you meet up with someone, even those close to you and with whom you work on a daily basis are unfamiliar to you.

Author Heather Sellers is a child with a “crazy” acting mother and a hard-drinking father who are separated in gritty, flamingo-decorated Florida. She is bewildered, different, forever compensating for her own weirdness. She attends at least five schools before third grade. Sellers somehow survives a testy, lonely childhood. YEARS LATER, as a productive, creative and literary adult, she discovers that she is “face blind.” What????

I won’t be a spoiler. You just have to read the book! Don’t blame me if you call in sick for work because you are really reading in bed with a cup of mocha java. 🙂

Journal prompt: what did you read in 2015? What are you reading now? Write a detailed list and try writing some reviews. If you don’t keep a list of what you read, try starting one. Even jotting down the titles is helpful.

Try listing articles you read. Writing about what you read, even just noting your brief impressions helps you as a journal-writer to gather ideas for your own future work.

Posted in self improvement, social commentary, stream of consciousness writing, Writing for healing

The Help and My Story-Musings on the Coming New Year

Some new year musings. It’s long one.

I enjoy the approach of the new year but I don’t make resolutions. Instead I focus on “wannas,” not to be mistaken for “wannabe.” I don’t wannabe anyone other than myself. My take on most of what others’ opinions might be, at least right now in my life, is-who cares? I know who I am, I know what I do and what I don’t do.

And of course I care, but at a certain age alignment with universal values becomes more important than what the neighbors think of your lawn or lack of it. And I’m sure when it comes to trying to sell my own work I’ll have to tone it down…somewhat. When in Rome….

What brought all this about?

It is the topic of self-respect and the quest for becoming a better person…and my personal goal until I take my last breath. Jesse and I haven’t watched the popular movies about “The Help” and all that. I am the “Help” and have always been the “Help” even though I come from a background where we were more than comfortable. When I was working in a bookstore some dude came in, took a look at me and said “Is this the new help?” I kid you not. One of my former bosses used to introduce me as “This is Sue, she works for me.” Yes. I did. And that is how you are supposed to act when you work for them. You play the role, you know the role, and you sure as heck learn a lot about people.  I’ve never been the doctor, lawyer,  or chief group; I’ve always been in the support system category. Sometimes I get a little twinge of something, maybe it is envy, but in my heart of hearts I don’t envy anyone. I worked for 30 plus years for low wages-not that it means anything. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough to land higher paying jobs. I’ll reveal more in my book.  I did what I could, when I could. I found a niche and I stayed. What anyone else does is up to them. I would advise young folks to go for the highest paying career you can get, without going into debt. And travel the world. How else can we learn about others? You are no less or no more than another person on this earth. Ever. Nobody is “above” you. They might have a more prestigious title, have more money, more influence, more power, better looks…but they are not above you. They go out just as they came in, same as you.

I guess you would say I’ve always been a free spirit with a strong alliance for justice. Now let’s move on.

My point is I don’t need to go live in a Zen Center to find myself and to pare back on luxuries to create an atmosphere of humility or humbleness. I did that for many years, while washing CLOTH diapers in a ‘shit bucket” with gloves on, the old way. We didn’t have plastic diapers.The shit bucket was always used for diapers, nothing else. People don’t know how to clean nowadays. People don’t deal with shit. Mothers and fathers just clean their babies (hopefully) then they roll it up and throw it in the garbage so that it all ends up in a crap-laden land fill.

Back to my tough lifestyle story–so, once the diapers were rinsed, I water poured the gray water onto a separate compost pile that was carefully kept away from the regular garden compost. You had to heap topsoil or dirt onto the pile the cover it with hay and a bit of lime,  for decomposition. You leave that alone for at least six months. Enticing isn’t it?

Then I would transfer the damp rinsed diapers in a plastic bag. When we would go to town once a week, I would throw them in the regular washing machine ( luxury!) at the laundromat.

I did that with two children because we lived way out in the country, back up in the mountains where we didn’t have electricity and indoor plumbing. I hauled water and chopped wood. I worked at the log jams and did stream clearance, the women working right along with the men. I cut firewood with a chain saw to earn extra money. I was strong, never worried about “weight.” We didn’t have luxuries and I never really missed them at the time. What I missed was having a life without arguing, without verbal abuse, without condemnation. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out. As quickly as you can, just get out.

I got out and later on I met a good man.

I just remember a few paragraphs in Louis Armstrong’s autobiography. I think he was talking about this grandmother who took in washing for a living. In fact, most of her customers were ladies of the night. He shared her sunny outlook on life and the fact that she NEVER envied anyone, nor did she disparage her lot in life. She was the ultimate “Pollyanna” before the genre of positive thinking ever got started.
Norman Vincent Peale was one of the first known Anglo positive thinkers. But you KNOW Anglo people did not originate all this oozy gooey feel good stuff. Not to say everything boils down to race, but lack of awareness is truly a great “sin.” It is white privilege not to be aware, now, it is a class privilege not to be aware. Most people are hard-working and optimistic, but they are fed up. And it is not about political correctness. PC matters, Black Lives Matter, Native American lives matter, and protocol matters. Respect matters.  That is why I am voting Bernie Sanders. Until Clinton addresses GMO foods (think cancer and tumors) fracking (think pollution, toxic drinking water, and skin ulcers), and class disparity, I am not supporting her. I wanted to believe that a woman could be in the White House. But something just isn’t right at this point.

It’s going to be depressing not having Obama in the White House. I don’t know about you, but Jesse and I cried when we was elected both times. We sat on the couch in the living room….and nobody called. Finally I called my soul sister, Velma Sue, because she always understands me. Jesse and I were shocked. WHERE were all our friends? NOBODY called.  We wept for the historical breakthrough, for the victory, for the battle and all the lives that had been lost, and are being lost by injustice. But, I’m getting off track.

As we know mainstream American culture and ideology has its ROOTS from ‘other’ ethnicities and populations-originating with Native American, African, Caribbean Islanders, Asian, Alaskan, Hawaiian, Hispanic, European, Portuguese and so on. We might have a tough time melting in the melting pot of the US, but we are certainly all going to melt if we don’t change our dependence on fossil fuels, and our insistence on fouling, destroying, and decimating our lovely home-the Earth.

Here are two things I’ve been mulling over for the New Year:

1) I wanna change some things & of course I want to change myself. Since Christmas I did a bunch of leg lifts and counter push ups. Here’s how you do Sue’s push ups. Stand at any counter in the house, straighten your arms, lean in, bending elbows and then push back. IE, It is a standing push up. Do at least 10 pushes. I am on a mission to love my body more. Am out for a walk daily and I’m doing more minutes on the treadmill. One day at a time, as the saying goes.

2) I wanna use LESS plastic. Even when we are conscious about healthy eating we still end up bringing in plastic to the house. I still use bubble wrap in my book business because it is light and doesn’t make the shipping weight increase. Somehow, slowly I am going to decrease the use of plastic in my life. Cheers!

Journal prompt: did you make any New Year’s resolutions? What do you want to do this year? Or do you feel resolutions are a bunch of hooey?


Posted in journal prompts, self improvement

Just Sharing for Happy Women’s History Month

“It’s spring cleaning time around the house. I found a faded newspaper clipping of one of my favorite poems, written by Dorothy Law Nolte. You can read the entire poem on the link below.  Here is an excerpt:


Children Learn What They Live

” If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, the learnt confidence.”


Journal prompt: What was your experience in childhood? Do any of these examples stand out for you?

I  especially like the last line because it ends on a positive thought. 🙂  Here’s to an encouraging happy ending.




Posted in journal prompts, journaling, memoir, poetry, self improvement, social commentary

Mmmm, yeah

Covering five areas:



1) Her voice on the other end of the line is soothing
someone I can really talk to.
She understands if you can’t quite make it on a certain day and she knows you
will try.
With some people you learn to read between the lines
because it’s just too hard to talk about it.
I can hear the mowers in the background in my imagination.
Smell the green colors the earth of little feet and generations

who tell me I did belong somewhere once upon a time,

adorned with hyacinth and lilac.
They’re bringing in the wheat
they had to dig some new lines for the well this weekend.
calendar with tent copy.jpg for blog











2) I love every new month because I have this thing for calendars.

There’s one in every room and I plan ahead each year to find just the right ones.




I analyze and gaze, taking in the composition, savoring the feeling of the colors, the blocks for the days, I look at the numbers,




The times in between the dream and the paint.

Satisfied I organize. I print out my morning pages.

That is the beauty of each new month.


I may not have aced the approval codes the first time

where my little eyes crept towards walls of shame

would Daddy still love me and would I be good enough?

Would I get to be good enough? Would Mama come out from her shell?
but I did

I did when I came back
and attacked it with a vengeance.
I laid it out with their A’s and
with all the self-worth I could conjure for the second time.

to add with honors

And this time I cared. So I sent a picture and went back to work.

I may not have slam-dunked the algebra, but  I climbed your ladder to display the thing.
I never got into debt.
And didn’t spend more than I made.
And I never depended on a man for my sustenance.


When I said I hauled all the water we used
for the babies
and at that time when he left
and I had to do it all myself,
I was long and lean and strong
I did make it from sunrise to dusk


my story is true.
when Grandfather told me about laying 80 miles of barbed wire for fencing that year
his story was true.
and there was a time when the barn burned down.
that was a bad year.
He had to wait another  two years to be able to buy a new overcoat.

3) It’s cliché to wonder where it all went.
How could I not remember that I ran for president of elementary school….
I did?
Yes, you did.
I don’t remember that.
I was your campaign manager.

So memory seems to stick to the bad stuff
and trauma but I’m in a different mode now so I
create miracles, co-create and all that

you know
because this aging is not for wimps.

Maybe it was the year before Mom got sick.
Why wouldn’t I remember that?
What happened that shattered my confidence?
It never left, it just tagged along with Rip Van Winkle
believing some garbage about domestication,
that one’s worth-a woman’s worth  is measured by your waistline,
by your marriage qualities,

the checkbook and
cooking skills-not by the trouble you’d fled or avoided

but they forgot that wanderers, artists, music-makers and dancers, plus
shy people

and gypsies had to pull their carts
just another mile. But I quickly
set down roots and set ’em deep
and quietly buried the afterbirths in a special location

no I freaking did not eat it-get off me-
the old way
they told me
to do this
the ones who didn’t know English , CrowDogs
from South Dakota, the grandmother  said”you know that way,”
so when your children grow up-they will always have a place to go
if they get confused once in a while
or are in  a dark night, kinda blue
or just need to think,
to call on Spirit,
they would know where the tree is
and they could go there and gather themselves.

I did that for my children
so they would know
they always have a home near the tree.



You just tap in and access your pin number to Creator.


the work shed window
4) Spiritual competition stinks worse than crap,
religious wars and power struggles
make people act worse than the lowest animals.



A man took an assault rifle to the airport this week.It was a man with a smirk, a sneer, or was that an over-educated  glare of  contempt?

He went to the coffee shop in the Starbucks of a major busy airport… but he claims he was  just shifting the weapon

when it was aimed at a woman and her 17-year-old daughter. They were frightened-of course. Ignorance is quite frightening!

The man, a “top researcher” with a PhD in neuroscience wanted to make a statement about the right to bear arms. In the news report they claimed he didn’t treat patients at the institute.

Hmmmm, yeah.

At the airport with an assault rifle?  Oh Lord.

Jesus, hold my hand.

No ethnic, as in  professional black person  would have the cojones to do that, and I’m sure as hell you wouldn’t find an Hispanic man in sheriff Joe’s territory trying to support weapons rights by walking up to Starbucks at Sky Harbor with a rifle. Nada.

He didn’t hear about LAX? He hadn’t heard about Sandy Hook?  or even Columbine?

You want to own a gun, you leave that phallic toy at home.


And what about that other guy-the football player.  Ray. Ray, you got to get together and learn to do it right. Don’t waste your life or hurt anyone else. Dr. PHIL!

What is UP with these people lately?


You want to be mad at your wife or fiancé, you take a nice walk and talk it out, fool. Or go talk to your coach or some older dudes who have SENSE as in a BRAIN with working brain cells. You do not hit a woman. No can do.



huh ahuh



unh mmmm






Journal prompt: Try telling a story using poetry or free writing without proper punctuation or grammar rules and spelling etc.  Just get it  written down on paper or put  in the computer. Start in the present and share an event. If you find your mind is wandering, or your conversation diverts, don’t fight it just  now…. let it go where it will…and as you begin to remember other things (association) keep writing. Use short phrases in you need to.

I am using this method to work on my memoir and may do the whole book as a series of poems. I find the poetry method much more intimate and personal when I want to evoke a mood. It is a battle of sorts if you are into poetry and prose.

Discussion: What is your experience of memory? Of course most of us will not remember everything about our lives. Some theorists claim we remember the traumatic stuff more easily or readily. How does not remembering affect you? Does it bother you when that happens?  If you are in a younger age group do you notice things about your aging relatives? What are your thoughts, if any, on aging?

Posted in self improvement, women trailblazers, writers, Writing for healing

“The Corporation has not Clouded My Gratitude”

mary Whiton Caulkins copy.jpg for blog

When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time” Oprah Winfrey

This is a free write tribute to a female trailblazer in the field of psychology and philosophy. See my post on “Those Lonely Years” to reference William James. He was the mentor and advisor to Mary Whiton Calkins. WP links to my blogpost aren’t showing.

You must do the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt


In a prestigious university a woman sat in a classroom where she wanted to learn psychology.
Four men got up and walked out in protest
because she wore a skirt.
She challenged the stereotype that women are intellectually inferior to men.
Thus, she was punished.

She possessed a great mind and a fire for learning.
She earned her PhD yet her credential was not granted
The Harvard Corporation would not allow it.

Backed by William James , Royce, and others, the powers in charge at Harvard would deny her the doctorate.
And  today this right is still  denied  posthumously.
I wonder how much we have advanced in respect
to all women and girls in education—
keep pushing, keep studying, and forge ahead.

Hail, hail and bravo to those who persevere despite jealousy and elitism. Introspection is a powerful ally and our heroine in the journey of women in psychology proves its worth.

Mary Whiton Calkins dedicated her life to helping others by doing behavioral research, by teaching for over 40 years and by developing theories. She originated the paired association technique and important studies in relatedness and philosophy. Mary  would leave her mark. In 1905 she became the first woman president of the APA.
Fifteen years later in 1920 women obtained the right to vote.

Male psychologists tried to take credit for her work.

Women are great thinkers. We are not lesser, we are not greater, we simply demand our equal place to do our work.

I wonder if women are included in the Great Books?

Even though all the letters and petitioning did not influence the exclusive barriers of male dominated academia

then and now, the timelessness of one person’s contribution to the world cannot be underestimated.

So if a woman is considered histrionic, over-emotional, or less-than,

I give you the research  and writings

of Mary Whiton Calkins


We remember.


Journal prompt: Have you ever been denied access to higher education? Where and why? Did you persevere? What are your personal views and experiences about gender equality?  What are your views about the advancement of women? How about transgender people?


Copyright © 2014 art and writing by Susan E. Rowland, all rights reserved.


Posted in blog challenge, body image for women, celebrations, journal prompts, self improvement

Groundhog Week

Blogaday prompt: Groundhog Week
If you could relive the past week what would you do differently?

Last week I had a wonderful time visiting with our son and his lovely girlfriend. I was so happy to be able to hug my son again and enjoy a laugh together. He made us a breakfast. We went to the Musical Instrument Museum here in Phoenix. It is exquisite. They have Pablo Casals’ cello and the piano on which John Lennon wrote “Imagine.” Elvis boots, guitars, and outfits are fun.  Plus, there is a room where visitors can play an assortment of instruments and gadgets.


With headsets one wanders through spacious rooms with exhibits from all over the world.


Why do we respond to certain sounds? I love strings, horns, bass, gongs and bells, all of it. Some music doesn’t move me. After studying past lives through channeling and hypnotherapy, I felt a strong kinship with the sounds of what may have been the locations of my previous incarnations. No, I wasn’t famous. More on that later.  In essence, I floated through history.

early piano
The second week switched into some moments of minor tension. I generally put myself into a funk over the topic. The take-away from the crunchy part of the week is I had some nice phone conversations. I held my own. I made a decision not to fret over any of it. Voila! If it doesn’t feed the Spirit and Soul essence then it’s not worth it.


My only regret is not exercising more. I may not have that body image (yet) I was chirping about a few posts ago, but I am working on trying to stay healthy. Another 15 minutes per day on the treadmill would have been nice. Onward! And….no worrying allowed.

bow and weird musical instruments

Oh, and I saw an interview with Don Miguel Ruiz  author of The Four Agreements. YES!

Until next time…